Upcycling Clothes: Budget-Friendly Fashion

How to create a unique and more sustainable wardrobe by upcycling clothes and save money doing it.

(Image credit: getty)

Clothes that were once one of our favourites now sit at the back of our wardrobes and you might think the best course of action is to throw your unwanted clothes away or give them to charity. However, upcycling clothes is another great option.

With global warming becoming the most talked about issue and the living crisis affecting so many of us, upcycling has become a craze. You can upcycle clothes easily with a bit of creativity and know-how. You can even save yourself a fortune and help the environment along the way. 

The fashion industry, particularly the fast fashion industry, has a huge environmental impact. The Geneva Environment Network states that 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions come from fashion. It’s a staggering statistic to be faced with. 

Your wardrobe uses more resources than you may expect but upcycling clothes lowers your fashion footprint easily. Let’s look at some statistics to find out how DIY clothing can help. 

These numbers are mind-boggling to many of us. With 85% of all textiles going to landfills each year according to UNECE, upcycling clothing becomes more and more appealing. 

How do upcycling clothes help you save?

We’ve gone over the effects of the industry on the environment and we know how upcycling your wardrobe can help to minimise these effects. But you may be wondering what else upcycling your clothes can help with and the answer is everyone’s favourite – money. 

Many of us are prone to jump on the one-off sale bandwagon. When we receive those notifications from clothing apps, it can be hard to say no but it’s just £30 right? When it’s all added together, British households spent approximately £57.3 billion in 2021 alone. With the current financial climate, cutting down our fashion budget is important to many. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t update our wardrobes. 

DIY and upcycling clothes brings a unique, personal touch to your wardrobe whilst sticking to a tiny budget. There’s a lot about the fashion industry that encourages people to find new ways to spruce up their closets. The adoption of fashion upcycling and DIY clothing helps both the environment and your bank account plus so much more.

How do we upcycle clothing?

Being handy with a pair of scissors and a needle and thread doesn’t come easy to everyone but that doesn’t mean that upcycling clothes into wardrobe gems is impossible. 

If you’re looking to alter a garment, a simple off-the-shoulder t-shirt edit is an easy place to start and you can do it in 4 easy steps. 

You can add an extra bit of pizzazz to any top by adding embellishments with hair accessories or introducing new shapes and colours using scrap fabric. A simple t-shirt edit is just the beginning. There are several websites and guides all over the place to help you get started with your own unique wardrobe. Pebblemag.com has a great article full of simple tips and tricks for beginners to upcycle their clothes. 

No-needle DIY

Some DIY clothing ideas don’t just rely on a needle and thread. With a little research, we’ve found some of the best no-needle ways to edit your clothes in a budget-friendly way! 

From using fabric glue to add lace detailing or pockets to cover that annoying stain. From painting with bleach to even reliving your childhood with some potato prints. There’s a way to update your clothing without having to master a needle first. 

There are loads of techniques to use to upcycle your wardrobe whilst sticking to a budget. So, whether you want to change the shape and fit of a garment, add some embellishments or a splash of colour, you can find a number of easy beginner-friendly techniques on sites like moralfibers.co.uk

Upcycling clothes doesn’t stop at t-shirts and dresses. A super simple way to bring a new splash of colour into your wardrobe is with your shoes. Trainers looking a little beaten and drab? You can give them a new lease of life with a selection of leather paints and a little love. Pastels are really popular right now and they’re a great option to spruce up some dingy white trainers (they’re fairly cheap too!). 

Upcycling Inspiration

If you want to upcycle your clothing, you’ll need lots of inspiration to create some truly iconic pieces. The good news is that the internet and social media is filled with some amazing inspiration. TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest have a number of influencers who focus on upcycling clothes and sustainable fashion. For in-depth walk-throughs, head over to YouTube!

My favourite place to look for fashion inspiration is Instagram. You can find so many different styles wherever you look! From creating the most on-trend looks, and recreating a New York Fashion Week look to going all out with MET Gala energy, you can find some great inspiration. With colours, fabrics, shapes and fits, you don’t need to break the bank to keep your wardrobe looking fresh. 

Sometimes, we can’t actualise our creative ideas so how else can we breathe new life into our old wardrobe? Sites like Vinted, Depop and eBay are fantastic options when you have a collection of preloved clothes. Not only is selling your clothes helpful to the environment, but it also means they’ll land in the hands of someone who will love them as much as you did. You can make a little money from them too. 

Self-editing & Upcycling Clothing: Is it worth it?

There’s a lot to be said for upcycling your wardrobe however so many people wouldn’t dare to give it a go because making that first cut is daunting. If you’re anything like me, you have two wardrobes worth of clothes that haven’t been touched, upcycling could be the answer for those garments. 

Pick through your clothing with an open, creative mind and find the possible gems! Upcycling clothes is great for everyone involved so take to your wardrobe with a pair of scissors and maybe a needle if you’re feeling brave. 

Shona Moreland
Fashion Editor

Hi there! My name is Shona and I’m the Fashion Editor here at MyVoucherCodes. I’ve been writing for 5 years, and now I’ve been focusing on fashion, and I’m loving every minute of it! From the freshest releases to the hottest trends and movements that keep the industry buzzing.

I have a number of interests, ranging from playing the drums, drawing, reading and writing to enjoying nature with my puppy! And let’s not forget about the all-important interest … Fashion!